Keywords in C

Description of all Keywords in C


The auto keyword declares automatic variables. For example:

auto int var1;

This statement suggests that var1 is a variable of storage class auto and type int.

Variables declared within function bodies are automatic by default. They are recreated each time a function is executed.

Since, automatic variables are local to a function, they are also called local variables.

break and continue

The break statement makes program jump out of the innermost enclosing loop (while, do, for or switch statements) explicitly.

The continue statement skips the certain statements inside the loop.

for (i=1;i<=10;++i)
   if (i==3)
   if (i==7)
   printf("%d ",i);


1 2 4 5 6

When i is equal to 3, continue statement comes into effect and skips 3. When i is equal to 7, break statement comes into effect and terminates the for loop.

switch, case and default

The switch and case statement is used when a block of statements has to be executed among many blocks. For example:

    case '1':
    //some statements to execute when 1
    case '5':
    //some statements to execute when 5
    //some statements to execute when default;


The char keyword declares a character variable. For example:

char alphabet;

Here, alphabet is a character type variable.


An identifier can be declared constant by using const keyword.

const int a = 5;


int i;
   print("%d ",i);
while (i<10)

To learn more, visit C do…while loop

double and float

Keywords double and float are used for declaring floating type variables. For example:

float number;
double longNumber;

Here, number is single precision floating type variable whereas, longNumber is a double precision floating type variable.

if and else

In C programming, if and else are used to make decisions.

if (i == 1)
   printf("i is 1.")
   prinf("i is not 1.")

If value of i is other than 1, output will be :

i is not 1


Enumeration types are declared in C programming using keyword enum. For example:

enum suit

Here, a enumerated variable suit is created having tags: heartsspadesclubs and diamonds.


The extern keyword declares that a variable or a function has external linkage outside of the file it is declared.


There are three types of loops in C programming. The for loop is written in C programming using keyword for. For example:

for (i=0; i< 9;++i)
  printf("%d ",i);


0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


The goto keyword is used for unconditional jump to a labeled statement inside a function. For example:

for(i=1; i<5; ++i)
    if (i==10)
    goto error;
printf("i is not 10");
    printf("Error, count cannot be 10.");


Error, count cannot be 10.


The int keyword declares integer type variable. For example:

int count;

Here, count is a integer variable.

short, long, signed and unsigned

The short, long, signed and unsigned keywodrs are type modifiers that alters the meaning of a base data type to yield a new type.

short int smallInteger;
long int bigInteger;
signed int normalInteger;
unsigned int positiveInteger;
Range of int type data types
Data types Range
short int -32768 to 32767
long int -2147483648 to 214743648
signed int -32768 to 32767
unsigned int 0 to 65535


The return keyword terminates the function and returns the value.

int func()
    int b = 5;
    return b;

This function func() returns 5 to the calling function.


The sizeof keyword evaluates the size of data (a variable or a constant).

#include <stdio.h>
int main()
    printf("%u bytes.",sizeof(char));


1 bytes.



The register keyword creates register variables which are much faster than normal variables.

register int var1;


The static keyword creates static variable. The value of the static variables persists until the end of the program. For example:

static int var;


The struct keyword is used for declaring a structure. A structure can hold variables of different types under a single name.

struct student{
    char name[80];
     float marks;
     int age;
}s1, s2;


The typedef keyword is used to explicitly associate a type with an identifier.

typedef float kg;
kg bear, tiger;


A Union is used for grouping different types of variable under a single name.

union student 
    char name[80];
    float marks;
    int age;


The void keyword indicates that a function doesn’t return any value.

void testFunction(int a)

Here, function testFunction( ) cannot return a value because the return type is void.


The volatile keyword is used for creating volatile objects. A volatile object can be modified in an unspecified way by the hardware.

const volatile number

Here, number is a volatile object.

Since, number is a constant variable, the program cannot change it. However, hardware can change it since it is a volatile object.